Quick hits

They say brevity is the soul of wit.

Jacques Martin answered two – count ’em, two – questions at his press conference.

Then he joined his players, scooting to the airport to catch their charter flight to Buffalo … with two points to declare at Customs.

In assessing an “interesting” game in which his team relinquished a four-goal lead, Martin talked about “the new NHL.”

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what night you’re playing,” Martin added. Funny things happen.

The coach sounded a bit wistful.

He may be nostalgic for the old NHL. But Martin has to be happy with his overtime hero, P.K. Subban – a player whose ebullient style threatens to drag the league – kicking, screaming and clinging to its Teeder Kennedy autograph – into the 21st century.

P.K. is having a good time playing professional hockey. He’s the darling of the Bell Centre, and the dramatic goal just added to a legend in the making.

But behind the flamboyance that annoys Don Cherry and all the other Orange Ontario spinster aunts that run the league and dominate TV coverage, there is one helluva hockey player.

Subban played 27-plus minutes – more than anyone on the Canadiens, more than anyone on the Flames, including Jay Bouwmeester, who’s making a lot more money than the rookie sensation.

In addition to scoring the winner, P.K. had an assist, two blocked shots, logged an astounding 6:17 on the penalty-kill (as did his partner, Hal Gill) … and gave the puck away three times.

But that’s the new NHL: cough it up, suck it up and you don’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption.


Credit the Flames for a gutty effort.

As Martin pointed out, Calgary began its road trip by erasing a 5-2 deficit in Carolina (only to lose in OT). 

Perhaps it was the fear of Brent Sutter running a bag skate immediately after the game, but the Flames never quit and kept pressing. And they got a boost from some fine stops by Henrik Karlsson, who had come on in relief of Mikka Kiprusoff.

Alex Auld was solid as his teammates built a 4-0 lead, then surrendered four goals on seven shots. The backup goaltender’s rebound control was not strong, but the Canadiens didn’t give him much help.

Once Jarome Iginla got their second goal (originally credited to Bouwmeester), you just knew the Flames had seized momentum and were going to make the third period tough for the Canadiens.

Had the home team lost after blowing a 4-0 lead, the city would be in mourning tomorrow morning.

As it is, two points lifted the Canadiens past the Rangers into sixth place.

And if I were a betting man, I’d say Carey Price gets the start in Buffalo.

More tomorrow.

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